Why Finding a Therapist is So Hard (but shouldn’t be)
Right now in America, 19% of all adults are currently experiencing a problem with their mental health. This can include but is not limited to:
- Eating Disorders
That is nearly 1 in 5 of all adults! Think about that in terms of your family members. Your friend circle. Your team of co-workers. Maybe, it’s you who are struggling.
Coming to the realization that you need help can be very difficult. It was for me. Talking to a therapist was something that “other” people needed, but I could take care of myself.
Deciding to look for a therapist is the first step.
There are many factors that you may not fully understand when first looking for a therapist. Such as…
What is the difference between:
- Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) … licensed to perform assessments
- Clinical Social Worker (CSW) … masters degree in social work required
- Marital and Family Therapist (MFT) … specialize in working with couples
- Clinical Psychologist (PSY) … can be specialized in advanced disorders
And what is the difference between:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy … focuses on treating negative thoughts
- Humanistic Therapy … explores positive individual attributes and behaviors
- Integrative Therapy … combination of many different customized tools
- Psychodynamic Therapy … focused on the impact of past experiences
Wow! And these are just a few. The point is that there are so many options available, and it can be easy to become overwhelmed before you even begin. I had no clue what I was even looking for, but knew I had to do something.
Terra Orgeron suggests to, “Write notes about the concerns that led you to seek therapy and what you would like to accomplish there. Make a list of questions for potential therapists about their experience and qualifications, including specific concerns (cultural, religious, lifestyle) that you may have.”
This exercise can help define what exactly you are looking for and direct your search.
Cheney Meaghan writes, “Decide what you want your therapist to be like. For instance, I am only happy with a therapist that is older than me, because I feel that younger people don’t have as much life experience in them to understand what I am going through.”
Actually searching for a therapist is the second step.
This is where things can get tricky. The most common place to start is Google, but upon initiating a search for your city or zip code, you are likely to receive page after page of results, with little to no direction as to who may be the right fit for you and your current issues.
If your family or friends are comfortable enough to talk about it, you may receive word of mouth referrals to someone that they may have seen in the past, or are currently seeing. Referrals like these are extremely helpful because you are able to get direct and honest feedback from people that you trust. One thing to remember however, is that because therapist/client relationships are extremely personal, a really good experience for your friend may not translate exactly the same way for you even when seeing the exact same provider.
Another good place to start is with your employer’s employee assistance program (EAP) or your health insurance directory. Most insurance company websites will contain a list of in-network providers. You may have to dig pretty deep to find it, but it may be worth it to take advantage of benefits that provide free (or almost free) sessions.
When I first started my search, I was hit with a wall of choices and I quickly became overwhelmed. I had no idea who was actually good, or how one therapist near my home is better than another. Most importantly, I had no idea who was the best fit for me.
Of course I want the very best care possible, but just like everyone else, I’m busy. Online research takes time. Scheduling initial consultations with multiple therapists in trial and error fashion takes even more time, and can even cost me $$ if they charge for it.
Scheduling and going to your first appointment is the third and final step.
This may be step three, but your evaluation shouldn’t stop here. If you find the personal connection is missing, or are unsatisfied in any way, then go back to step two and repeat.
Jordan Brown says it best, “Do not feel bad if the therapist’s approach is not working for you. This is your life, your mental health, and you have the right to find someone who can help you find your way in this wacky world.”
THE BIG PROBLEM
The process of figuring out that you need to seek help, what kind of resources are available, searching for a provider, and then evaluating your experience is so complicated, that it results in many people giving up and not receiving the care that they desperately need. The figures below are shocking.
WORKING ON SOLUTIONS
Therapeasy is a digital health company that was founded to help tackle the big problem above. Each co-founder is on a mission and committed to helping you find the perfect therapist.
Jodi Tandet really gets it when she says, “Therapy can be wonderful (life altering! cathartic! freeing!) but finding the right professional doesn’t just mean google searching for whoever will accept your insurance, has openings at a convenient time, and is located nearby. In other words, the two of you need to have chemistry.”
It’s this chemistry, the personal connection, the relationship, the compatibility factors that are at the center of what we do. It is one of our core beliefs. It’s what drives us to work on a redefinition of the search experience to be quick, easy, relevant, and curated specifically to you.
We are on a mission to make therapy easy. If you are interested in learning more, visit our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Therapeasy founder : Jon Just